Have you ever been told to just "laugh it off" when something unpleasant happens? There is evidence that this is actually very good advice. Here are some ways laughter can be healthy for you.
- It may reduce stress - laughing can reduce the production of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine while also increasing production of happiness hormones like dopamine.
- It may help to reduce blood pressure - high blood pressure is often a side effect of stress, so when you reduce the stress hormones, it can lead to a lowering of the blood pressure. Besides, it's hard to stay stressed when you're laughing your head off.
- It can aid in the reduction of depression - this is not to say that it is a replacement for medical intervention for those who suffer for a chemical imbalance but laughing while in a depressed state of mind has been known to be a mood enhancer.
- It helps us connect with other people - Laughter is contagious. How can anyone watch this video and not start giggling? When you laugh with others, the collective mood is lifted and everyone starts to feel better.
- It's good for the cardiovascular system - when you laugh, your blood vessels dilate and your blood flow improves
- It can help you to relax - did you ever feel calmer after a really good belly laugh? Almost like you could go to sleep? Laughter can leave your muscles relaxed for almost an hour after you stop laughing.
- It can boost the immune system - laughter not only reduces stress hormones but can also increase the production of anti-bodies to fight infection and immune t-cells, helping to fight off disease
- It can help tone your abs - laughing expands and contracts your abdominal muscles while allowing your other muscles to relax and de-stress. Sure beats doing crunches.
- It can clear brain fog - if you feel foggy or disconnected from what you are doing, take a break and watch a funny video like this and you'll be able think more clearly.
- It can help you breathe better - when you laugh heartily, you breathe more deeply and more effectively oxygenate your cells.
Even if you receive none of these benefits, laughing always feels good and isn't that worth it?